Qatar has begun regular shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Bangladesh five months after a regasification vessel ran into trouble while trying to connect to the onshore infrastructure and offload its maiden cargo.
An LNG cargo loaded over the weekend from Qatar's RasGas production facility and will be the first of about three 140,000 cubic-metre cargoes to arrive each month at Moheshkhali, Petrobangla officials told Reuters on Monday.
The Excellence, a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), arrived at Moheshkhali near Cox's Bazar in April but bad weather hampered its ability to dock properly and connect to shore. It offloaded the cargo it came with last month.
The shipments will ramp up to 2.5 million tonnes a year (mtpa), as agreed with Qatar, and have turned Bangladesh into the latest nation to join the fast-growing LNG importing club.
The South Asian country of 165 million people relies on gas for 70 per cent of its energy production but rising demand has coincided with falling domestic output, prompting it to consider a host of LNG projects.
Aside from the Moheshkhali project, several others are being considered, usually combining LNG imports with onshore power plants that would use the regasified fuel as feedstock or with fertiliser complexes that are heavily gas-reliant.
Bangladesh has penned several other long-term supply deals which are expected to begin once the import projects are developed. Using FSRUs is a quicker and cheaper way of importing LNG than the construction of traditional onshore facilities.
Imports of LNG from Oman are expected to begin together with the arrival of another FSRU at Moheshkhali as part of a project developed by Summit Power with the participation of Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. (Reporting by Ruma Paul Writing by Sabina Zawadzki Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)